Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fragments of Conversations: An Oblique Autobiography
Rummaging through the ‘Sent’ folder of my inbox
… … …
Dear […],

I wanted to write something longer than simply ‘hi’ or ‘hello’. That is why I did not reply sooner. Even now I do not have the time to sit down, think, and write something of any worth. One of my basic traits (lover of literature that I am) is that I value words more than most people do. Hence my reticence in throwing them away. Another thing to note would be the old saying, ‘A friend is someone you can be silent with’. Because words are used when there is some tension, some trouble. Because when everything is alright there is no need for any comforting, consoling, cajoling, complaining or carping. Because when you are at peace, all you need do is to wonder in silence at the beauty of it all…

Yesterday, I connected with something I had thought I had lost. At about half past ten at night I went up to the terrace and watched the sky. Gigantic clouds were hurrying south and in the spaces where the sky was not clouded I could see the beautiful stars arranged in mystic patterns smiling and winking at me. I smiled even though my heart ached to think how these same stars have beguiled men even thousands of years ago – how Socrates and Archimedes and the others (Did I ever tell you about my weakness for everything Greek?) have watched these very same constellations in this very same dance just like me tonight but are now farther away from me than those stars…

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden.

– A song of the 1960’s.

[…] I was just beginning on a lyrical flight of incomprehensibility…

I’m closing this now with a prayer that even if you never get the meaning of the mystic astral dance may you learn to feel its beauty in the depth of your heart, because therein lies the essence of this throbbing life… Keats: ‘All Beauty is Truth, and Truth Beauty’. The greatest gift is the art of wonder…

The floor is coming closer and closer to me, and I’ve got to run. Ergo, no time to stop and think….
I’ve got a book of Hawthorne’s short stories, three plays by Shakespeare, an anthology of American literature and a collection of English poetry too, but I don’t feel like reading any of it. If this isn’t a disease, tell me what is.
The clock says 8:07 pm and I can hear the bloody thing’s heartbeat. And I know his heart will go on even after mine has stopped….
Wonder what you are doing now…. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know…you are reading this, right?

Have you heard the song ‘Dear Prudence’ by the Beatles? I don’t think you have. You should, you know, you really should listen to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and…who else – I forget.
My music system’s gone for repairs – aha, that explains my looniness.
Yes, partly….

So how you doing, kid?
Still having nightmares about work?
Say your prayers before you go to sleep, you hear?
Be a good girl, and them nightmares will fly away – Mama always said so.
Yesterday night I dreamed up a motorcycle chase and as my bike touched 120 kph the alarm rang, and I had to go for the brakes….

I stare at the computer screen and see myself spreading black cyber ink on this milk-white screen and feel like a sinner. Sin – yes, once a Catholic, always a sinner. And though we stuck up some poor guy on the cross two millenniums ago, Eve had eaten the apple and even God can’t change the past and we can only argue about what is right and what is wrong and the world still keeps going round and round, just like my head….

You still there, […]…?
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me [that’s from a Pink Floyd song].

Seen any film lately?
Read any book?
I fear you are becoming a bloody Philistine.
[Forgive the bloody’s I keep throwing around. It’s becoming a habit nowadays…]
I hate habits – I don’t drink tea; no coffee neither; no tobacco; nor alcohol…
But then what about books and films and etc and etc….

My my, hey, hey,
Rock and roll is here to stay,
It’s better to burn out
Than it is to fade away…

[for your info, Neil Young wrote that]
You know Neil Young? – interesting sort of punk…

How’s your world doing?
Spinning healthy?


Yesterday I saw a girl with no legs, at Kaloor bus stop – one of God’s little mischiefs, as they say…. A Tamilian girl begging, – she was pretty, her hair in pigtails and red ribbons which defied her condition – and almost everyone she asked for money gave something. Being too slow, she did not reach me or else I too would have had to calculate how many coins would bribe my soul to a cheeky peace…, counting the number of tears I can wipe today – the rest I’ll tomorrow, Sister…

Sister, Mother, Wife, Girl, Woman,
the answer to all questions, the beginning of all questions...

I can see no stars from this window, because of the clouds… In a while it’ll rain; Mother Nature’s caught a pretty bad cold…

Time for dinner –
And then to sleep:
Sleep, sweet sleep,
The balm of life –

To forget all in the embrace of Mother Night –
Night, night, tell me tale of weal or woe...

[…], tell me, don’t you think eternal ecstasy would get boring? Then here goes a prayer for those wallowing in Heaven…


Don’t be like me; I mean, do reply…

Truly, madly, deeply,

Yours higgledypiggledilylylylly


[…] here are a few lines I scribbled over the last week… Bye.


the neon happiness of the city streets
cannot free my spirit from the bondage of dejection’s chains

my soul batters its wings
like a butterfly wallowing in blood on a marble floor

my tongue is voiceless, my limbs are still
my marrow black and dry

laughter dies in my throat
the blood in my veins is cold

maimed and impotent
yet I yearn for the stars!

in the neon lights of the city
I search for the candle that will
light up the darkness in my soul

and too late I find pepsi cola
cannot wash the stains of sin
off my spotted heart

‘apocalypse metro’

when the drains of the city choke with blood
and carrion reeks on the roads

when vultures perch with hungry eyes
on the glass ceilings of shopping malls

when maggots wriggle out of the eyeballs
of carcasses dressed in Armani

and the rouge on the cheeks of scrubbed dames
turns green in the heat of the sun

then the bells in the metro’s churches
will toll for these days of neon and steel

from the rot of the cities will rise
the verdant foliage of a new forest

have you ever wondered why black is black
not white
but just black?
have you?
and why haven’t you?
because you think you are sane?
or are you?
but really?
think again

is every rainbow of the same colour?
all rainbows are of many colours, right?
see what i’m getting at?
don’t you?
but why?

lock yourself up in a room with five walls for company
if you have nothing there but the whiteness of these 5 walls
and just one tiny mirror to see yourself in
how much time would your sanity survive, my friend?

sanity is just a fly on the wall
it flies away for no reason at all
because black is just white with the lights off
and all you can do about it is to stare
and maybe even laugh sometimes
because it makes no difference: black or white

are you smiling my friend?
are you sure you are sane?


catch22 said...

Your thoughts are a beauty sagave....
Reminds me of Oscar Wilde "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars"

fobsie said...

Bravo!! Clement, Bravo!!!
If your long silence could bring out good stuff like this to salon, no problem, do as you wish. I will do the regular yapping and ranting.